Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Speaking with Drexel medical students today about non-clinical careers

I spent some time this evening speaking with medical students at Drexel College of Medicine about a variety of non-clinical career opportunities. I want to thank Deepak Sharma (Drexel MD/MBA candidate) for setting up the meeting. It was great to interact with students who have questions regarding non-clinical career options. I also enjoyed visiting my wife's medical school because it's been many years since I've stepped foot on the Queen Lane campus of Drexel College of Medicine (at the time it was called MCP/Hahnemann).

We spent time discussing these 4 non-clinical industries:

1. Consulting - remember that some of the major consulting firms like McKinsey and BCG offer programs where medical school graduates and young physicians can learn about job opportunities within those organizations. McKinsey Insight Healthcare and Bridge to BCG are two examples. My practical tip for medical students is this: speak with consultants so that you have a better understanding of the types of jobs that are out there and attend information sessions.

2. Pharma/Biotech - we discussed several options ranging from MSL (medical science liaison) to contract research organizations to medical directorship to drug safety review. There are a variety of job opportunities within the biopharma industry that we could easily spend a few hours discussing those. My practical tip for medical students is this: expand your social network and meet physicians who are working in these roles so that you can explore these types of job opportunities. Devote some time to clinical research and try to publish some papers during medical school and residency.

3. Entrepreneurship - we shared some stories ranging from social entrepreneurship to bootstrapping a start-up. It seems like I am constantly meeting more young medical students who wish to become entrepreneurs. My practical tip for medical students is this: search for those business podcasts on iTunes and iTunes U. A number of business schools like Stanford and Yale have excellent podcasts that focus on entrepreneurship. These stories can be very inspiring. 

4. Medical management - there are a variety of positions ranging from being a chief medical officer (CMO) of a hospital to even becoming a CEO. Or, you may pursue jobs in the health insurance industry and work for health plans like Aetna and Blue Cross. My practical tip for medical students is this: join the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) and learn about the different medical management careers that are available. Student membership is very affordable ($30 per year).

Next time, we'll need to discuss career opportunities in health IT, finance, medical journalism, medical writing, and more. We'll have to invite other medical students and residents in the Philadelphia area to attend our next meeting.

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